Desperately Seeking Solace


Oh, my.


Dear young Moms, please help me! I need you!

Dear Grandmother’s, please please tell me it will all be OK!

What. A. Day.

First thought: I love my grandchildren more than I love my own heartbeat.


After 25 or so years as a momma, you kinda forget how hard it can be. Today I had my reminder.

I picked up my little grandchildren, the same way I do it every day. “HI, Ellie!” I chirped to my 2 1/2 year old best beloved. “I need milkies.” she answered. “OK!”, I said, “When we get home!” We pulled into my driveway some 12 minutes later, and I got her out of her carseat. Luckily for me, her grandfather, her adored “Papa”, was there to help. I put her down on the driveway and filled my hands with all of the stuff she’d need for the day. The bag with the extra clothes for her and her baby brother. The bag with some toys that might (hopefully) keep said baby brother occupied for two minutes. The milk for him. The boots for her.

Papa grabbed baby brother and went into the house. Ellie, who normally walks casually into the house, ran down the driveway screaming, “I need my zipper!  I need my zipper!”

I was unable to convince her that she didn’t need to zip her jacket because we were walking into the warm house. I had to resort to grabbing her around the waist, hoisting the multiple bags of stuff, and dragging her into the house.

She howled. Like a freakin’ wolf, she absolutely howled.

Now. This ain’t my first rodeo, so I ignored her. Eventually, she came upstairs and joined us in the living room. All was well.


We sat down to breakfast, a nice big oatmeal breakfast. I served Ellie a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries. I put a pile of oatmeal and blueberries onto ten month old Johnny’s tray. I sipped my coffee.

Ten minutes later, Ellie was finished. She carefully wiped her face and hands, put her dish in the kitchen, and went to play. “Yay, me”, I thought. “I know how to handle cranky toddlers!”

Then I looked at baby John. There was oatmeal on his face. On his chest. In his hair. Packed into both nostrils. And on the wall beside him.

Johnny oatmeal

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh”, I said. I grabbed him out of the booster seat, and carried the tray and his dishes into the kitchen. I had to clean him up, obviously. It didn’t seem like the best idea to just toss him into the tub fully dressed, so I placed him, very carefully, on the couch. I knew that the back of his pajamas were clean. I thought I could scrape the crud off of the front while leaving the nice clean back against the couch.


That was when he went into the “alligator death roll” to quote of his Mom’s best friends. He flopped, he flailed, he twisted himself into a pretzel. After roughly 20 minutes, he was dressed in clean clothes, but I was faced with the awesome task of removing globs of blueberry filled oatmeal from my leather couch, my rug and the curtains behind the couch.

I scraped it up as fast as I could, letting Johnny crawl around the living room. Meanwhile Ellie kept demanding “I want MILK!!!” and “I NEED to color!!! NOW!!!”

So. By 10 AM, my teeth were gritted, my jaw was tight, my heart was skipping some very important beats.

I got Ellie her milk. I got Johnny dressed. I went into the kitchen to deal with the pile of dishes, bibs, dirty clothes, and oatmeal smeared walls. All was well. I soaped and scrubbed and started to relax. I forced myself to be calm and patient. “I am Nonni,” I intoned, drawing on my inner loving self.

Then I heard a sound. “Clank!”

I turned around.

I saw my little Johnny, holding the dog’s water bowl in both hands. It was on his head like a jaunty little hat. Water was pouring down his face and over his body.  He was soaked. The floor was soaked. He was, dare I say it? He was chortling.

A shriek came out of my throat before I could stop it.

Fast forward 15 minutes. I had now dealt with a soaked floor, a soaked baby, another round of alligator death roll, a thirsty dog barking at us all and a two year old tyrant demanding “I WANT TO WEAR A SKIRT!!! NO!!!! NOT THAT SKIRT!!!!”

I was ready for a martini and it wasn’t even 11AM.

I needed a moment.

Johnny was plopped into the playpen. Ellie was settled on the couch with a video. I went down the hall and into my bathroom. I washed my face. I brushed my teeth. I looked in the mirror at my haggard old self. “You can DO this,” I told me. “You are NOT going to crack. They’re just being kids. It’s OK.”

I grinned at me.

I looked like everyone’s image of the scary hag who comes to haunt them in the night. I brushed my hair and straightened my shoulders.  I forced myself to be calm and confident as I walked back into the living room.

Ellie looked up at me.

“I just peed in my pants.” she told me with a grin.

Ellie yelling

“I’m two! And there’s nothing you can do about it!”

20 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Solace

  1. Try crying. For real, not just the fake “look at grandma be silly” exaggerated cry. I’ve had a few days like this and they broke me, literally. I actually started crying and I’m 58 and have done this with 3 kids of my own! The older one was astounded and in awe. The younger one knew something was up because of older siblings total lack of drama and demands. I looked at them and said, through tears “I don’t think grandma can do this anymore, it’s just too hard.” At least for the older one I think she got a quick lesson in empathy… at least until the next tantrum 😉


  2. One of the ladies in my bible study told a story of a harrowing day like this with her three grandkids..topped off with a nighttime phone call from her daughter saying she had found lice in one of the kid’s hair after she got them just can’t..I mean for real..I’m not sure I could do this..again.


  3. Your story took me back to my parenting days!!! And your writing is continues to draw me in and want to keep reading. I don’t always comment but I always read!!! I’m actually working on my second book about life stress. The book will share anecdotes of stressful moments and what we do or how we think to make them better. Many stories are mine and I also have other contributors. Let me know if this project interests you. I could use a good grandma story!


  4. Oh my, sounds like a very stressful day but particularly for Nonni! The picture of Ellie at the end of your post literally made me laugh out loud! Sounds like you handled it all like a pro & I sure hope you poured yourself that martini when all was quiet!


  5. Oh my gosh! 😨 There are horror movies not as scary as this! I have two kids, but they’re 10 years apart. I really don’t know if I could’ve been a mom to 2 little ones at the same time even as a young woman, and I know I couldn’t do it now. You deserve a trophy, a tropical vacation…and, yes, a triple martini! 🙂


  6. You have this Nonni laughing hysterically and feeling guilty about it! I guess this is what I have to look forward to? Adeline will be a year next week so we haven’t reached the boiling point yet. Papa is retired so he does most of the babysitting but after a couple of hours he’s happy to have my help! Addie does a great alligator roll….it takes 2 of us to change one wet diaper….sometimes I wonder if we are too old for this!


  7. Pingback: Desperately Seeking Solace — Empty Nest, Full Life – bbkidsworld blog

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